COM Students Speak to the Good & Bad of Online Relationships

With sensitive holidays such as Valentine’s Day and the ever-growing presence of social media, it is easy to be hypersensitive of others and their current relationship status (or simply who is friends with who), especially while being on a college campus.

With the emergence of such a strong social media presence over the past decade, the conversation has changed from “Who’s dating who?” to “She’s Snapchatting him?” 


“Did he change his Facebook relationship status to single last night?”

“He’s DM-ing him?”

“Didn’t she post an Instagram with him last weekend?”

“Isn’t it weird how they act like best friends online but not IRL?”

These days it’s hard to have a conversation with a friend about a budding relationship – romantic or not – without the inclusion of how said significant other has entered their personal social media sphere. Within the College of Communication, students are the subjects of the ongoing study of digital media. Here are three Advertising students, who share their thoughts on the good, the bad, and the ugly of online communication. 

Q: “How do you think social media has changed relationships?”

A: “I think social media has had both really positive and really negative effects on relationships. And it all comes down to maturity. It has helped people in long-distance [relationships] because there are so many platforms to keep up communication and foster a deeper connection even when two people are far away from each other. However, with so many different people on social media, and so many bad temptations it has really pushed the issue of trust. In general, if a relationship is strong, social media shouldn’t have that much pull in the relationship.”  

Caitlin Miller, COM’18


A: “Well in terms of friends, I feel like social media allow relationships that may have dissipated to continue, but on a surface level. I still feel connected to people from high schools because they like my posts or I see their posts via social media. If that didn’t exist, I probably would’ve forgotten about them already.”

                                                     Gabi Chin, COM’17


A: “I’m not sure I have a good answer. Since we grew up with social media, every relationship I’ve seen or been involved in has naturally involved social media. So, I don’t think I have an accurate first hand comparison between relationships with and without [social media]. I think some people would say that social media has made people very concerned with image and created this sense of jealousy and one-upmanship. But, I think that has always been a factor in relationships, especially in teen and young adult formative years. People are still trying to find their sense of self.”

                                                        Jaclyn Rouillard, COM’17


After talking with various COM students, it seems there is an overarching theme on the matter. While these students find social media to be beneficial in many ways, they also acknowledge the downfalls. The goal is perhaps to use social media moderately when it comes to relationships and to not rely solely on it. Keeping in touch has its goods, but keeping in touch continuously could be too much? These ideas are interesting to take into account as one embarks on an relationship when love is in the air this Valentine’s (Week) or at any point. 


Mackenzie Peña, Staff Writer

Mackenzie Peña is currently a senior at Boston University studying Public Relations in the College of Communication. She has participated in both BU’s AdLab and PRLab as an account executive. She hopes to secure a position in a PR agency where she can put her communication knowledge and love for all things PR to good use. In her spare time, Mackenzie likes to dance, hang out with friends, and travel home to Connecticut, where she spends time with her family. 

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